Raja Harishchandra was the first full-length Indian feature film. The film was directed by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (better known as Dadasaheb Phalke). The film was based on the legend of Harishchandra. Dadasaheb Phalke was greatly influenced by the style of painter Raja Ravi Verma in the making of Raja Harishchandra. The film was shown to a select audience on April 21, 1913 and was formally released on May 3 the same year at the Coronation Theatre in Bombay, where it ran for 23 days. Raja Harishchandra tells the tale of a virtuous monarch who donates his kingdom and sells himself into penury. The film was adapted from a successful stage production. It had subtitles in Hindi and English and featured male actors in the female roles.
India's First Talkie Film
India's first talkie film was Alam Ara (Light of the Universe). The film was released on March 14, 1931 at Majestic Cinema in Bombay. Alam Ara was made under the banner of Imperial Movietone. It was produced and directed by Ardeshir Marwan Irani. The film was based on a successful Parsi play of the same name, written by Joseph David. The star cast of Alam Ara included some of the popular stars of the silent era like Prithviraj Kapoor, L.V. Prasad, W.M. Khan, Master Vithal and Zubeida.
Alam Ara exploited the technological wonder of sound to the full. It had opulent sets and made rich use of music, song, and dance. Alam Ara had seven songs. The film took two months to complete. There were several technical hitches in sound recording. At that time there were no sound proof stages and most of the film was shot indoors and during night. Since the film was shot close to a railway track, the unit had to wait till the trains ceased to operate to begin the shoot.
More Movie Facts
Chota Chetan was the first Indian 3D Movie. The film was made under the banner of Navodaya Films in 1984. Chota Chetan was a huge box office success and earned around Rs 60 crore during 1984-85. The film also won the President's Gold Medal. The movie was re-released with additional footage and digital sound upgrade during 1998 and amassed Rs 50 crore during that period. The film's starcast included Dalip Tahil, Suresh Mukesh, Sonia Sahni, and Arvind. Lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar, Anand Bakshi, and Sameer. Music was given by Anu Malik, and the director of the film was Jijo. The version that was released in 1998 also included Urmila Matondkar.
Jaddan Bai, mother of famous actress Nargis, was the first woman music director in Indian film industry. Jaddan Bai made a film Talash-e-Haq in the year 1935 and composed the music for it herself. In the same year Saraswati Devi scored the music for Mumbai Talkies' Jawaani Ki Diwani.
Jaddan Bai was a struggling artiste in Calcutta. It was the legendary singer K.L. Saigal who noticed her talent and encouraged her. So, from a gramophone singer, Jaddan Bai became an actress, music director and film producer.
The movies in which Jaddan Bai worked are:
1. Raja Gopichand (1933)
2. Insaan Ya Shaitan (1933)
3. Prem Pariksha (1934)
4. Talash-e-Haq (1935)
5. Madam Fashion (1936)